Stateside

Stateside
5:50 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Heroin addiction and overdose deaths on the rise in Michigan

Credit United Nations Photo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that heroin use in the U.S. jumped 79% from 2007 through 2012. And heroin overdose deaths rose 45% between 2006 and 2010.

Police and public health officials say Michigan is on the same track, with heroin addiction and overdose deaths on the rise.

Special Agent Rich Isaacson is with the Detroit division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Isaacson says the increase in heroin use and overdose deaths is directly related to the rapid increase in the misuse of opiate drugs, such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Isaacson says these prescriptions can get very expensive, which can result in addicts turning to heroin, which is also an opiate drug, for a much cheaper price.

Isaacson says prevention and education are very important to reduce the addiction and overdose rates. He adds that strict oversight on how the drugs are obtained and educating doctors about addiction could help as well.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:37 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

No goats allowed! Detroit shuts down a farm's efforts to rid Brightmoor of blight

Credit user Nemodus photos / Flickr

A herd of goats has been evicted from weedy lots on Detroit's west side.

The animals were brought into the blight-ridden Brightmoor neighborhoods late last week to eat the overgrown weeds and grass.

But the city of Detroit swooped in straight away to shut down the goat farm, called Idyll Farms Detroit, noting that current zoning laws don't allow goats within the city limits.

Overgrown weeds and trash on Westbrook Street, between Acacia Avenue and Kendall Street, made the block nearly impossible to pass through. The Brightmoor community partnered with Idyll Farms to clear it.

On Memorial Day weekend, the community loaded up five 30-yard Dumpsters with trash. Eighteen male goats were brought in Thursday afternoon to be used as lawn mowers, so volunteers can pick up the trash.

Around noon the next day, Detroit Animal Control showed up to enforce an ordinance against farm animals within the city limits.

Leonard Pollara is a consultant with Idyll Farms Detroit. He said that Idyll Farms was aware that an ordinance existed, but they were asked by the Brightmoor community not to engage with city hall, and said the city would not enforce the animal control ordinance.

Pollara said that Idyll Farms was fully prepared to remove the goats at any time if the city required them to do so.

Pollara added that Detroit has not yet perfected an ordinance that would allow for farm animals within agriculture zones.  However, Idyll Farms has experience in operating farms and managing agriculture systems.

“We are very interested in offering our resources and expertise to the city,” Pollara said.

Pollara added that they are not interested in backing away and want to remain in a partnership with the Brightmoor community.

*Listen to full interview above. 

–Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
5:31 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Some big issues are still unsettled for Michigan's budget

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The budget clock is ticking in Lansing.

Only three days remain for lawmakers to wrap up work on the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and get it done before their self-imposed deadline of early June before their summer break.

Some big issues have been tackled, but there are big ones still unsettled.

Jonathan Oosting, the Capitol reporter for MLive, and Kathy Gray, the Lansing reporter for the Detroit Free Press, spoke to us today.

*You can listen to our conversation above.

There are a few things to expect from this new budget:

  • Road funding may receive about $400 million.
  • The higher-education budget could increase significantly.
  • An increase in revenue-sharing payments to cities, counties, villages, and townships.
  • A new helicopter for Michigan State police, and a new post in Marshall.
  • Film incentives will likely stay at $50 million.
  • The School Aid Fund could increase.
  • Community colleges could receive a 3% bump.

–Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
5:27 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

An international trail around the Great Lakes is in the making

Credit NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flick

Imagine an international trail around the Great Lakes. Biking. Hiking. Paddling.

7,000 miles, stretching through eight states and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

That goal was the focus of the recent Great Lakes Coastal Trail Conference.

Dave Lemberg is an associate professor of geography at Western Michigan University and he's with the Lake Michigan Water Trail Association.

Lemberg said the trail is not just for hiking, it also includes sea kayaking, biking, and motoring. The trail will add to the Great Lakes Circle tours, which goes around all the lakes.

The goal is to connect the shoreline cities, resort beach towns, state parks and other areas around the Great Lakes.  

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
5:23 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Heroin use in Michigan is on the rise. That's as many addicts shift from more expensive and harder-to-get prescription drugs to heroin, a cheaper alternative.

Then, big news from the Kalamazoo Promise. The program that offers free college to almost all the city's high schoolers is expanding to include more than a dozen private colleges and universities. We asked what this could mean for future Kalamazoo graduates.

Also, no goats allowed in Detroit. A herd of goats has been evicted from weedy lots that the city of Detroit owns.

But first...

Hear that? That ticking? That's the budget clock in Lansing.

State lawmakers want to get out of the Capitol to start campaigning in their districts, and that means there are only three session days left to wrap up work on the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Some big issues have been tackled, but there are big ones still up in the air.

*Listen to full show above. 

Stateside
9:55 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

3rd-grade teacher named Michigan's Teacher of the Year

Keith Elementary in Walled Lake, MI.
Credit Keith Elementary / Twitter

Melody Arabo, a third-grade teacher at Keith Elementary School in Walled Lake, has been named Michigan Teacher of the Year.

“I think building those relationships is key. I think no matter what grade level you teach, no matter what area you teach in, making a connection with the kids and making them feel welcome at school – I think that's probably the most important thing,” Arabo said.

Arabo said she makes this work by showing an interest in their personal lives. “I can tell you what sports each kid is good at and what they love. I can tell you about their hobbies; they can actually tell you about mine,” Arabo said.

As Michigan’s teacher of the year, Arabo may attend the State Board of Education’s monthly meetings.

“I’m excited to see how that works and learn more about the political atmosphere around education,” she said. “And then be able to bring in the voices of teachers that I know, and the concerns that we have and the celebrations that we have so we can uplift the public education system.”

*Listen to full interview above. 

Health
9:50 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Yuck or yum? Researchers say your sense of taste may affect how long you live

Are your taste buds linked to your overall health?
Credit Paul Scott / Flickr

We know that our taste buds help steer us toward foods we like and away from things that might not be safe for us to eat.

But some interesting research suggests your sense of taste might actually affect how long you live.

Scott Pletcher is one of the researchers. He's with the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan.

Research shows that sensory experience can impact organisms’ behavior and physiology.

“The sensory system is viewed as the brain window to the world,” Pletcher said. “Simple experiences that we have taken for granted for years are interpreted by the brain and induce dramatic changes in us physiologically.”

Pletcher relates this to the experience of being hungry, smelling an apple pie and feeling your stomach react.

“What we are realizing is that this is not just a short-term thing, and maybe it has long-term consequences,” Pletcher said.

*Listen to full interview above. 

Politics & Culture
9:44 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Stateside for Monday, June 9, 2014

Picture an alley. You're probably thinking of a run-down, grimy, narrow pathway between buildings. But in urban areas across the country, that picture is changing.

Urban alleys are becoming microcosms for urban redevelopment, and today on Stateside, we’ll hear how Detroit is no exception. Then, later in the hour, we find out what's keeping some homeless people in Michigan from accessing the services they need.

Also, thoughts from a dad on #YesAllWomen. And research that suggests your sense of taste might affect how long you live.

But first, Ford, General Motors and the Chrysler Group – who know a thing or two about perilous times and near-death experiences – today offered a $26 million helping hand to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

*Listen to full show above. 

Stateside
9:39 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Midtown Detroit alleys are getting a makeover

Credit Green Alley Project

When you close your eyes and think of an alley, what do you see?

Trash? Junky cars? A place where danger lurks?

Or do you see a place where people might stroll? Perhaps car-free? Certainly cleaned up.

That's what Sue Mosey sees.

She's president of Midtown Detroit, Inc., a nonprofit community-development group that is working to transform gritty urban alleys in Midtown Detroit into something that is green, something you would want to walk through, and something that helps with urban revitalization.

Mosey said the alleys in Midtown Detroit were in very bad condition, some even collapsing. Mosey said the group worked with the Department of Public works to help with underground repairs.

“Since we are going to have to redo them anyway, we figured why not make them green and sustainable and beautiful,” Mosey said.

They repave, rebuild, and add lighting to the alleys, as well as other projects to make them more attractive and safe for the city.

“It’s an opportunity to reuse something that is usually seen more as a negative and create something unexpected and really positive and people really respond to that,” Mosey said. 

*Listen to full interview above. 

Arts & Culture
9:35 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Dads need to teach sons to respect women by example, blogger says

Screen capture of Twitter news feed, #YesAllWomen

Elliot Rodger's shooting rampage near the University of California Santa Barbara campus claimed the lives of seven people, including his own.

His hate-filled videos and "manifesto" expressed a sense of male sexual entitlement that struck a deep chord with women around the world.

Almost immediately after the May 23 shooting rampage in Isla Vista, women took to Twitter to share and vent about their experiences with sexual fear, harassment and sexual assault.

#YesAllWomen has been exploding since it erupted May 24.

Women are sharing thoughts such as:"#YesAllWomen because apparently the clothes I wear is a more valid form of consent than the words I say".

And from Aimee Mann: "The cops who asked me,"well, what were you wearing?" when I reported an attack and attempted rape.#YesAllWomen"

Stateside wanted to get the thoughts on #YesAllWomen from a dad. How should dads be talking to their sons? How can dads help today's women feel more secure around men?

Doug French is the co-founder of the Dad 2.0 Summit, and co-creator (with his ex-wife) of the blog "When the Flames Go Up", about co-parenting after divorce.

French said he was very surprised by the tweets. “I had no idea,” he said.

French added that dads should be talking with their sons about the issue, so that when they become men they will respect women. However, he said that just talking will not suffice.

“You can talk to your kids as much as possible about this sort of thing, but the thing that trumps that is example and the sheer quantity of examples that they see,” French said.

He added that where the dads can come in is stopping the systemic misogyny that is learned.

“One of my favorite tweets is the tweet that said, ‘I started reading #YesAllWomen because I have a daughter. But it became more apparent that it’s more important because I have two sons,’” French said.  

*Listen to full interview above.

Stateside
9:14 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Detroit automakers say they'll kick in $26 million for DIA's part of the "grand bargain"

The Detroit Institute of Arts.
Credit Flickr

Detroit automakers say they will give $26 million to the Detroit Institute of Arts, to go toward toward the "grand bargain," an effort to hasten Detroit's trip through bankruptcy.

Ford and General Motors will each contribute $10 million and Chrysler offered $6 million.

How the money will be distributed, whether in a lump sum or over the course of 20 years, is still in the air. The DIA says it will raise $100 million toward the grand bargain, and that it has already secured commitments for $70 million

Michigan Radio’s Detroit reporter Sarah Cwiek says automakers and auto families have a long history of supporting the DIA. Cwiek also says there is a subtle, but persistent, expectation that the automakers will contribute because they got a helping hand in the past.

Pensioners are voting whether they want the grand bargain; Cwiek says its not clear if the automakers' contributions will have any effect on the votes. 

*Listen to full interview above. 

Families & Community
6:22 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Getting a state ID for the homeless? It's complicated

Credit SamPac / creative commons

Advocates for the homeless say getting a state identification card is much too complicated. There are many people who are homeless and are in need. They want to get their lives together, but need legal ID. Without it, they can't get a job, medical help, or housing.

But there can be many obstacles to overcome in order to get a state ID: You need a birth certificate, Social Security card, high school transcripts, a lease, or other documents that most homeless people just don’t have.

Elizabeth Kelly, executive director of Hope Hospitality and Warming Center in Pontiac, and Greg Markus, the founding organizer of the Detroit Action and Commonwealth, discussed the issue on Stateside.

Kelly says one of the issues homeless people face is that some documents, such as Bridge cards – a state-issued benefits card – or IDs issued by homeless shelters,  aren't accepted by the Michigan Secretary of State as proof of identification.

Greg Markus said the state needs to be more sensitive to the problems of the homeless.

Markus says the Secretary of State will now, after a long battle and lawsuit, accept proof of income during the application process, but he adds this will still exclude those who have no income. 

Kelly said the hurdles are keeping many homeless permanently, and forces some to panhandle or other pursuits in order to provide for themselves.

“How we handle and take care of those in need defines us,” Kelly said. “As a society, this is something that cannot be tolerated.”

*Listen to full interview above.

– Bre’Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom.

Politics & Government
5:59 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Crime in Detroit has declined, but what can we do to keep it down?

Credit Peter Martorano / Flickr

Violent and property crime in Detroit dropped 25% in the first quarter of this year. However, Carl Taylor, a sociology professor at Michigan State University and native Detroiter, says the statistics don’t really reflect what is going on. He added that there's still a lot a crime that's going unreported.

The question Cynthia Canty asked on today’s Stateside was, “What can we do to keep crime declining?”

Taylor said what Detroit needs most is better prevention. Detroit needs more police officers, stronger schools, more jobs, and a closer look at mental health, Taylor says, adding that poverty also has a big impact on crime.

Taylor said that it is possible to keep a steady decline of crime in the city.

“We have to have the citizens, we have to have the resources, and we have to have an attitude change,” Taylor said.

*Listen to full interview in link above.

– Bre’Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom.

Stateside
6:27 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Detroit wins "grand bargain," but questions remain

Credit (photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

It was a big win for Detroit's bankruptcy struggle when the state Senate approved that $195 million rescue package earlier this week. That vote "sealed the deal" on the state's piece of the so-called "grand bargain."

But is the complicated and precarious deal a reality yet?

As Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes explained on the show today, the answer is "no."

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
6:24 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Green Party of Michigan holds election this weekend

Supporters of the Michigan Green Party visit the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department.
Credit Michigan Green Party / Facebook

It might be fair to say the Green Party in Michigan is a little like Rodney Dangerfield: Can't get no respect.

But the party is holding its nominating convention this weekend. It's a reminder that we do have an alternative to the Democrat and Republican parties in the state.

Fred Vitale, chairperson for the Green Party of Michigan, joined us on Stateside today.

He explained what the Green Party platform is based on and how issues such as ecological wisdom and social justice should be the focus for the upcoming election season.

Vitale also talked about how the Green Party can realistically have an impact on politics in Michigan.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
6:21 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

A 40-mile piggyback ride to raise awareness for kids with special needs

Credit User: lorenz kerscher / Wikipedia

Hunter Gandee will go for a walk this weekend.

That might not seem noteworthy. You might be planning on doing the same.

But starting Saturday morning, the 14-year-old from Temperance plans to walk 40 miles, from his home to the University of Michigan campus, carrying his 7-year-old brother, Braden, on his back the entire way.

Braden has cerebral palsy, and his walker doesn't move well on grass, sandy areas or in crowds.

Hunter isn't walking to raise money, but to focus attention on the problem of mobility for kids with special needs.

*Listen to our conversation with Hunter above.

Politics & Culture
6:18 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

New report gathers opinions on fracking in Michigan

Credit Eusko Jaurlaritza / Flickr

What do the people who run Michigan's towns and cities think about the prospect of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" in or near their communities?

A new report from the University of Michigan's Center for Local, State and Urban Policy looks into that question.

In Michigan, only a handful of communities report some type of high-volume fracking operation. It's the controversial process used to extract natural gas by drilling into shale deposits.

The center’s program director, Tom Ivacko, joined us to talk about the results.

*Listen to the interview above.

Politics & Culture
6:09 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, June 5, 2014

Donkeys versus elephants. Republicans versus Democrats. The two-party system in the U.S. tends to get most of our attention, but today we heard from the Green Party of Michigan, as they're holding their convention this weekend and pushing their agenda.

Then we heard why a 14-year-old boy from Temperance, Michigan, is planning to walk 40 miles this weekend from Bedford to Ann Arbor. He plans to carry his younger brother on his back.

And George Patton's granddaughter is mixing "99 Luftballons" with a little "White Cliffs of Dover" for a special concert to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Also on today's show, we dug into new numbers about how local leaders in Michigan feel about hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." It's an issue that will certainly make its way into the 2014 election season.

But first on today's show – two words: “We failed.”

Read more
Stateside
5:31 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra says investigation revealed big flaws in ignition switch recall process

Credit Wikipedia

"We failed."

That was the painful self-assessment from General Motors today, as CEO Mary Barra unveiled the findings of an internal investigation into the automaker's ignition switch crisis.

The defective switches are linked to at least 13 deaths and 47 crashes over more than a decade.

Today Barra spoke to GM employees at a town hall meeting broadcast around the world.

Michigan Radio's auto reporter Tracy Samilton was at the town hall, and she joined us on today’s Stateside.

*Listen to our conversation with Tracy Samilton above. 

Politics & Culture
5:46 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Legislation to give almost $200 million to Detroit’s bankruptcy settlement is on its way to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk, after the state Senate approved the measures yesterday. So, how'd we get here? Where do we go next?

Also, on Stateside it was 25 years ago today that Chinese security forces turned on student protestors in Tiananmen Square. We spoke to a Michigan man who was in Beijing leading up to that day.

The U.S Coast Guard has issued a permit to build a new bridge that connects Detroit to Windsor.

But first on Stateside, Herbert Hoover was president when a law was passed in Michigan that made panhandling a criminal misdemeanor.

That 1929 law stood until last September. That's when the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law, saying it trampled on the rights of free speech.

Police in Grand Rapids made vigorous use of that now-overturned law, arresting hundreds over the years for panhandling.

With the state law overturned, Grand Rapids and other cities have been trying to figure out how to keep a lid on  aggressive panhandling, while still respecting the constitutional right to free speech.

Last night, the Grand Rapids City Commission had a meeting on proposed changes to local ordinances.

Michigan Radio's West Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith spoke with Stateside. 

*Listen to full show above. 

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